Intelligence in Movement
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AGV Navigation

The most essential part of any AGV solutions is the navigation method. The optimal method is specific to the environment in which the AGV will operate.

The most essential part of any AGV solution is the navigation method. This refers to how the AGV move around your facility and know their exact location at all times. The optimal method is specific to the environment in which the AGV will operate.

Axter is a recognised expert in navigation system for AGV. Since its creation Axter has also placed important resources on R&D. 30% of our resources are dedicated to R&D in particular in the field of guidance technologies.

We were the first AGV company to create automated trucks able to leave their wires to perform intakes and drop off of loads using odometry.

Leveraging our proven expertise in odometry, we developed in 1995 the Odoguidance, a guidance system that eliminates wires on the ground using which I will present briefly in this presentation. This simple and cost effective technology, for which we are market leader.

We then developed a guidance system we called Wallo guidance that system makes use of walls or other surfaces to keep the vehicle on track. This method is used normally to automate transport loads along corridors and for loading trucks.

In 2004, we completed successfully our first Laserguidance implementation.

Today, our experience and expertise has enabled to remove all ground infrastructures with the Wallguidance. A new guidance technology using a simple recognition of the environment. This new guidance technology does not require any ground infrastructure and relies on a simple recognition of the environment.

Our AGV system is versatile and different guidance technologies can be mixed according to the operating environments of our clients from open outdoor spaces to extremely narrow aisles to floor level requiring extreme precision.

There are several forms of guidance technologies and selecting the most suitable is sometimes the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful AGV solution.

We have experienced with the following guidance technologies. Our AGV system can combine different navigation technics within the same installation. This gives our customers the benefits of all guidance systems within the same AGV installation.

 

  • Magnetic
  • Optical tape
  • Odo
  • Laser
  • Wire
  • Wallo
  • Wall

Wire

An electrical wire is buried in the floor. Antennas located on the AGV detect signal from the wire. Encoders on AGV wheels calculate the distance automatically.

Common applications

  • Widely used in old applications

Advantages

  • Precision
  • Reliability

Disadvantages

  • Lack of flexibility
  • Limited functionality

Magnetic Tape

Guide path is marked with a magnetic tape on placed on the floor's surface and guide path sensor are mounted on the vehicle.

Common applications

  • Widely used in old applications in particular automotive, electronics and assembly lines

Advantages

  • Precision
  • Cost
  • Assembly lines

Disadvantages

  • Lack of flexibility
  • Limited functionalities

Optical tape

This navigation technic is the new edge of magnetic tape guidance. It reads coded tape and optical markers. It uses camera and image processing sensors by using the contrast of dark and light colors between the tape and the ground to guide the AGV.

Common applications

  • Automotive
  • Electronics
  • Assembly lines

Advantages

  • Precision
  • Cost

Disadvantages

  • Lack of flexibility
  • Limited functionalities

Odo

Reference points (magnets) are embedded in the floor. Reference points are detected by a sensor on the AGV as it passes over the reference point. A gyroscope on the AGV measures/maintains the vehicle’s heading. A wheel encoder on the vehicle calculates the distance travelled. The AGV uses feedback from all three devices to determine its location.

Common applications

  • Wide range of applications.
  • Well suited for transport of loads outdoor or in hazardous environments.

Advantages

  • Flexibility (more flexible than magnetic or metallic bands placed on the ground).
  • Cost
  • Adaptable to almost all environments

Disadvantages

  • Precision

Wallo

Makes use of walls to keep the AGV on its path. This method is used normally to automate transport along corridors, storage racks and for loading trucks.

Common applications

  • Wide range of applications
  • Storage racks
  • Trucks, containers

Advantages

  • Flexibility (More flexible than magnetic or metallic bands placed on the ground)
  • Cost
  • Adaptable to almost all environments

Disadvantages

  • Require narrow paths

Laser

Most popular form of AGV navigation. Reflective targets are mounted throughout the facility at know positions. A laser scanner is mounted on top of the vehicle. The laser scanner strobes for the reflective targets. The vehicle control algorithms calculate the exact vehicle position via triangulation. The current position is compared to the path programmed in to the reflector layout map.

Common applications

  • Workshops
  • Dust free environments

Advantages

  • Flexibility (the AGV installation can be expanded without alteration to the facility)
  • Precision

Disadvantages

  • Price

Wall

Unique guidance technology developed by Axter which does not require any ground infrastructure and relies on a simple recognition of the environment. AGV recognizes its environment to establish its location. Without any infrastructure, the vehicle equipped detects and identifies, in three dimensions, columns, racks and walls within the environment. Using these fixed references, it can position itself, in real time, and, using instructions from the supervisor, determine its route.

Common applications

  • Stable environments
  • Outdoor & indoor

Advantages

  • Zero infrastructure required
  • Advanced precision
  • Total flexibility
  • Real-time estimation (localization & mapping)

Disadvantages

  • Price